Poole Harbour sightings blog

A record of all interesting and notable sightings from around the harbour throughout the year.

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Archive for March, 2020

Harbour Update – posted 30/03/20

Posted on: March 31st, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Being in lockdown (hate that phrase) means it’s rather tricky to carry much of our hoped for Osprey nest monitoring to log when different birds arrive back into the harbour. Luckily there are still a few people who are able to get out to local areas for their daily health walks, which resulted in another Lytchett Bay Osprey this evening, the third this spring already! Sadly, once again it didn’t hang around and we still wait for one to drop on to one of our Poole Harbour nest platforms. Luckily, despite the drop in monitoring efforts we still have three trigger cameras set up on three other nest platforms around the harbour, which work via the phone network, so every two hours we get photo updates of what’s been triggering the cameras. To date it’s mostly been wind and Carrion Crows but there’s always that moment of excitement when we get the updates.

Today the male Peregrine was on the Asda building feeding, but there was no sign of the female. Is she on eggs somewhere or has she given up on a hopeless lover?

We’re also just about to start updating our Poole Harbour list with additional info (historic and current), providing you with more about the birds you see (or may never see) out around the harbour, so be sure to click on our PH List link over the coming weeks.

Still images from the other nest cams we’re monitoring

Harbour Update – posted 29/03/20

Posted on: March 29th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Today’s icy blast was a shock to the system compared to last weeks very welcome warm spell. As seems common practice now, the day started off with….yep, you guessed it….a Red Kite, this one over Lytchett Bay again. A Black Redstart was in Somerby Road, Oakdale and in Holes Bay a 60 tardy Wigeon were lingering on and the Brownsea Lagoon was still busy with 2000+ Black-tailed Godwit, low numbers of Avocet and c10 early returning Sandwich Tern. The wind is due to ease off again by Tuesday meaning we can all get back to sky/garden watching again pretty soon, and with Swallows, House Martins and other passerines all arriving during April, we can carry on bolstering our lockdown garden lists.

It was also April 1st 2019 when female Osprey CJ7 arrived back into the harbour and began showing real interest in Middlebere nest platform. She spent many days being active on that nest before another larger female came along at the end of April and booted her off before CJ7 then came back again in May. The larger female then arrived back later in the summer whilst CJ7 decided she preferred a nest platform elsewhere in the harbour. Well….April 1st is this Wednesday! Will she be back on time? To help build excitement, Brittany Maxted, our Osprey project officer has put together a great film which includes all the still images taken by our trigger camera that was set up on the Middlebere nest last year.

Harbour Update – posted 28/03/20

Posted on: March 29th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

The cold wind began to build today but it’s due to drop right down tomorrow. That said, several Red Kite still popped up with birds over Lytchett Bay, Upton and Canford Heath.

Our partners in the Osprey reintroduction project also published some interesting data today too, highlighting that male Osprey S1, who spent the summer of 2017 in Poole Harbour is now making his way up the west coast of France and only days away from entering UK airspace. Now, he’s already faithful to a nest at Rutland so may stop here for a quick feed but will almost certainly be looking to get back to Rutland ASAP. What is interesting about S1 is that he’s the same age as CJ7 meaning she could possibly be on the same time line in terms of an arrival date. Lets wait and see!

Male Osprey S1 current position – data & map from Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation

Harbour Update – posted 27/03/20

Posted on: March 28th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

With the wind really due to build over the weekend and the temperature due to drop, today saw a good opportunity to really build those lockdown garden lists with potential ‘fly overs’ making use of the thermals. Once again Red Kites were the highlight of the day for several garden watchers with individuals over Oakdale, Upton, Hamworthy and Lilliput. Highlight of the day was another Osprey which spent a bit of time over the Wareham Channel and Holton Lee before disappearing never to be seen again. It tends to be that these early migrant Osprey are already established breeders further north so are unlikely to stay for very long, and almost certainly won’t land on one of our nest platforms. It’s from next week that things could begin getting interesting for us. At Swineham the 2 Little Ringed Plover were still on the ‘Stilt Pools’ and a White Wagtail was near Curlews Cottage. Out in Lytchett Bay on the low tide 2 Spotted Redshank and 5 Greenshank were feeding.

Todays recording is one we made around this time but back in 2018 which is of a male Stonechat, fresh back on territory singing to a female that was just a few meters away on another bush. You can also hear a Linnet calling and a few short harsh tones of Dartford Warbler too.

Red Kite – Oakdale – Ian Ballam

Harbour Update – posted 26/03/20

Posted on: March 26th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Another gorgeous day, and thanks to everyone who supplied sightings from their ‘health’ walks today. Along Soldiers Road there were 6 Fieldfare with another 5 on the edge of Slepe Heath. A Red Kite flew over central Upton with another over Studland and amazingly 5 over Baiter just after mid-day. It seems everyone is getting familiar with their local Buzzards with numerous photos appearing on social media as they fly over peoples gardens. Today, we even began photographing different individuals that flew over to see if we could work out exactly how many regular ‘locals’ there are and how many just pass on by…..good fun….if at home all day! Blackcap are definitely beginning to arrive and move on to their territories with birds singing at Holmebridge, Slepe Copse and Upton CP and there’s certainly no shortage of Chiffchaff.

Today, we’d like to play a sound that we recorded around this time last spring which is a typical mid March. This was recorded on the edge of Slepe Heath and was our first Chiffchaff of the spring that year as a Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed in the distance.

Fieldfare – Soldiers Road 

Harbour Update – posted 25/03/20

Posted on: March 26th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Well, it’s all about the garden birding for now, and Red Kites seem to be the order of the day, with numerous households across the harbour now keeping an eye out to add this regal raptor to expanding garden lists. It’s good to hear that many people are taking government guidance and walking to their local patches, and getting rewards too! The Swineham Scrapes known as the Stilt Pools held 3 Little Ringed Plover and the scrape nearest the road had a Green Sandpiper too. Out at Wareham Common the Siberian Chiffchaff was still there and a Ring-necked Parakeet flew by too. It seems no matter where you are in the harbour at the moment Chiffchaff are singing from every block of woodland and Blackcap are now winding up, getting primed to be in full voice by April. In Holes Bay there are still c100 Wigeon left and a few Teal and Shoveler and a night sound recording session at Lytchett Bay produced a handful of Redwing still couple of Coot. Red Kite passed over Lytchett Matravers, Upton and Sandford.

As many of you will already know, Arne has also now closed to the public as have many public areas to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. This of course means it will be hard for many people to get their birding/spring fix so we’re hoping to post several sounds of spring over the coming weeks to help bring spring to life a bit more, which we started a few days ago with a singing Woodlark and Meadow Pipit over Slepe Heath from back in 2014. Well, as mentioned it’s hard to go anywhere currently without hearing Chiffchaff going for it, but if you haven’t heard one yet this summer……here’s one from a mild March morning back in 2016 which was being accompanied by a Dunnock and distant Green Woodpecker on Slepe Heath.

Common Chiffchaff & Dunnock song – Slepe Heath – 23/03/16

Eurasian Coot – Call of a night time migrant – Lytchett Bay – 26/03/20 @ 00:45 (Nick Hull)

Stonechat – Hartland 


Harbour Update – posted 24/03/20

Posted on: March 25th, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

For obvious reasons the amount of sightings reported each day will be slightly reduced for the foreseeable future but that doesn’t mean we have to stop reporting various bits of news.

Firstly, there was an excellent blog written by Birdguides yesterday about how to make the most of ‘home birding’ over the next three weeks whilst we’re all in lockdown. Here at BoPH our home garden lists have started well with Sand Martin and Raven (from the bath)!, Red Kites, and migrant Meadow Pipits all making the grade so far. Plus, with this gorgeous weather due to continue over the coming days, there’s no better time to be sky watching and trying to add obscure passing birds to your garden lists…..Red Kite? Marsh Harrier? Osprey? Goshawk? White Stork? Black Stork? Black Kite……Bee Eater? J

Don’t forget we’re still allowed out for our daily exercise, so interpret that as you wish, but the key is to keep yourselves and the rest of the community safe, so please please don’t put anyone else at risk should you decide to go out for a stroll. That said, someone’s morning ‘exercise stroll’ produced an Osprey yesterday morning over Lytchett Bay. Red Kite were logged over Lytchett Matravers (2), Upton (1) and Creekmoor(1).

With so many people home-bound we’ve noticed a big spike in the number of viewers tuning in to our new Osprey nest cam so we’ve just launched a competition to see who can be the first to send us a screen grab of an Osprey on the nest! You can either contact us via email, Twitter or Facebook and there’s a prize too! A copy of local publishing companies excellent title – Catching the Bug, A guide to the birds of Poole Harbour. If you haven’t tuned in then the here’s the link – https://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/osprey/osprey-webcams/

We hope everyone’s ok and keeping safe and the mean time, for anyone who’s missing the sound of the heathland, here’s a nice recording we made back in 2014 of a Woodlark & Meadow Pipit in full song with a Great Spotted Woodpecker butting in a bit.

Harbour Update – posted 23/03/20

Posted on: March 23rd, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

Hi everyone, firstly we’ve been asked to forward on two bits of info to the local birding community, which are to come into immediate effect as of tomorrow, March 24th 2020.

Firstly, all Poole Harbour National Trust bird hides will be closed to the public. These include the Middlebere hide, the Brands Bay hide and the Studland Little Sea hides.

Secondly, Livability Holton Lee will be closed to the public tomorrow for the foreseeable future, meaning that neither the public or members can visit the estate for walks or birding sadly.

These restrictions are obviously in line with recent government advise on helping to restrict the spread of the current Covid-19 virus.

Both organisations have said they’ll inform us as soon as the situation changes and are happy for normal service to resume.

Thanks all in advance for your cooperation – Purbeck NT Team and Livability Holton Lee.

Now, this obviously comes as sad news seeing as the weather is finally on the turn, but tonight’s announcement from Boris Johnson also stated that some individuals can still get out once a day for an exercise activity. With this in mind it sounds like a healthy walk can still be had once a day, as long as you take into account the other guidelines the government have put forward. So, just make sure you hang a pair of bino’s around your neck when out for your spot of exercise. We also understand that there will be individuals out there who won’t be able to get out over the following weeks and we promise we’ll do everything we can to make this spring as accessible as we can for you by providing sound recordings, videos and photos of birds from around the harbour during this very strange and difficult time.

From everyone here at BoPH we’re wishing everyone a safe and productive next few weeks, and we look forward to seeing you all again soon x

Harbour Update – posted 22/03/20

Posted on: March 22nd, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It really felt more like spring today as the wind dropped off (a bit) and in sheltered areas butterflies were soaking up the sun. It seemed like Brimstone were everywhere and Peacock and a few Comma were active. Bird wise it was a tad quieter with highlights being Great White Egret on Little Sea, Studland and another at East Holme, 2 Siberian Chiffchaff were at Wareham Common, a Red Kite over Ashley Cross and a Great Northern Diver out in South Deep. On the Brownsea Lagoon 3 Sandwich Tern were settled for a while and in the strong ENE wind 6 Gannet were out in Poole Bay as a Fulmar passed too.

Great White Egret – Little Sea – Garry Hayman

Harbour Update – posted 21/03/20

Posted on: March 22nd, 2020 by Birds of Poole Harbour

It seemed a few people got up early to see if the Garganey were still on Wareham Common, but alas…they had gone by dawn. However, they had been replaced by 101 Black-tailed Godwit and a stunning Ruff. There was a Little Ringed Plover on the Sunnyside Scrape along with 2 Egyptian Geese and 100+ Redwing. The springs first Willow Warbler was singing along the Turlin shoreline at Lytchett Bay and Red Kites were seen over Upton, Wareham and Lytchett Matravers.

The forecast for the rest of the week is looking promising with the wind easing away and changing direction from NE to SE which should be great for dropping more early spring migrants onto our shores. Having already had a decent run of spring migrants, what will be next over the next week? The first Yellow Wagtail? Common Whitethroat…..Hoopoe?

Ruff – Wareham Common – Clive Hargrave


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